The Host Resources Deep Dive book by Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort has been one of the most widely anticipated books in the VMware community - previous deep dive books by Frank (co-authored with Duncan Epping), tantalising blog posts and captivating presentations have whet the appetite for the last year or so. Having sat through some of these presentations at VMUGs and VMworld I can tell you the depth and understanding that the authors bring to the table is immense.
I have not rushed to write a review of this book for two reasons, firstly I wanted to do it justice, and that meant that I needed to read it properly. The second reason is that this is a big book with well over 560 pages of content, and that requires some time!
Structurally, the book is broken into four sections (CPU resources, RAM resources, Storage resources and Network resources). Each section takes you through the physical architecture of the components, how the component is integrated into the system as a whole, how they relate to and are consumed by the virtualisation layer, and throughout there are design and management considerations. You only need to look at the calibre of the people writing the preface for each section to know that this book has gravitas: Pat Gelsinger, Carl Waldspurger, Christos Karamanolis and Andrew Lambeth (if those names don’t mean anything to you then do a quick search!)
A lot has been said by other reviewers about the depth of this “deep dive”, and I have to echo these sentiments. What’s really exceptional is the authors have gone deep on the individual topics (that are in themselves complex and difficult to understand) but also laid them out with a logical and methodical approach including how they each interrelate.
One thing I love about the book, and which especially appeals to me as an ex graphic designer, is the quality of the diagrams, typography and layout. It is easy to read and flows well, but what really sets it apart are the diagrams (check out these examles on Frank’s blog) which take complex technical ideas and make them easy to digest. They say a picture is worth a thousand words - in this case it’s definitely true. That’s not to say that the words are any less valuable, the clarity of the written information in the book is particularly impressive when you remember that English is neither Frank nor Niels’ first language - it is a testament to their understanding of the subject matter.
If you work with vSphere, I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of this book! You can expect to be educated and develop a much deeper understanding of the architecture and consumption of physical host resources in a vSphere environment. This is not a book you’ll read and be done with - it’ll be a reference you’ll pull off the shelf again and again.
It’s not often I read a book and can recommend it so enthusiastically (when I read a glowing five-star review my skeptic alarm immediately sounds and I suspect either sycophantic crony-ism or shameless self-promotion) but this is a genuinely good book - one that I will happy recommend, skeptics be damned!